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Trump and Lavrov Comment on Their Meeting

May 11, 2017 (EIRNS)—Both President Donald Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented that they were pleased with their meeting. Afterward, TASS reports, Trump told journalists,

"We had a very, very good meeting. We’re going to stop the killing and the death. I think that we are going to do very well with respect to Syria, I think things are happening—they are really, really, really positive."

TASS reported significant comments by Lavrov.

"I had a bilateral meeting with Rex Tillerson, then the two of us were received by President Trump," Lavrov said. "We discussed, first and foremost, our cooperation on the international stage.

"At present, our dialogue is not as politicized as it used to be during Obama’s Presidency. The Trump administration, including the President himself and the Secretary of State, are people of action who are willing to negotiate."

Lavrov described the background of their relations:

"The reason why our relations deteriorated to this state is no secret. Unfortunately, the previous administration did everything possible to undermine the basis of our relations, so now we have to start from a very low level. President Trump has clarified his interest in building mutually beneficial and practical relations, as well as in solving issues. This is very important."

On Syria, Lavrov said he believe the United States could contribute to the operation of de-escalation zones.

"We are ready for this cooperation and today have discussed in detail the steps and mechanisms which we can manage together. We have confirmed our interest in the U.S.’ most active role in those issues. I imagine the Americans are interested in this too.

"We proceed from the fact they will take up the initiative,"

he said.

"We have thoroughly discussed the Syrian issue, particularly the ideas related to setting up de-escalation zones. We share an understanding that this should become a common step aimed at putting an end to violence across Syria.

"At the current stage, we agree on the concept and even on practical steps concerning the geography of the de-escalation zones. The memorandum signed in Astana outlines further steps that would help the stakeholders come to terms on who and how will ensure the safety areas surrounding the de-escalation zones.

"President Trump has reiterated that defeating terrorism is the United States’ main priority as far as Syria is concerned. We see eye to eye here.

"We have agreed we will be working together in the format of Astana [talks] which the United States attends as an observer. We have praised the constructive contribution the U.S. made at the last meeting.

"We will be cooperating in the format of the Geneva process which, according to [UN Special Envoy for Syria] Staffan de Mistura, will be resumed the very next week,"

he said.

Regarding anti-Russian sanctions, he said: "We did not discuss the sanctions. This is not our problem; these are unilateral actions that were taken against us."

Lavrov said that their talks addressed the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, the situation in Afghanistan, and also the fulfillment of the Minsk accords on the political settlement in east Ukraine. "We agreed to continue working contacts on these issues and look for ways to bring closer the positions of all the parties concerned."